The MMA supports physicians and patients through advocacy on crucial issues affecting the health of Minnesotans and the practice of medicine.
The legislative priorities for the 2021 session are
Ensuring Telehealth Flexibility and Parity
State law was amended last session to cover telephone services delivered to a patient (when clinically appropriate) and to cover telehealth from the patient’s home. These are critically important, particularly for those patients who lack broadband access. These changes are temporary, and the MMA will work to make them permanent. In addition, the MMA will advocate for investments in broadband access for patients across the state. Telehealth’s promise cannot be fulfilled if a patient or clinic does not have access to high-speed internet.
Preserving Access to Care
With a projected deficit of more than $1.2 billion for the next biennium, the MMA will fight to preserve coverage through our safety net programs. Legislators often look first to the health and human service budget for cuts when trying to balance the budget. The MMA will stand against cuts to eligibility for state health care programs and cuts in reimbursement to providers. The MMA will also advocate for measures that reduce Minnesota’s health disparities and work to address the social determinants of health (access to housing, food insecurity, and other factors) which all have enormous impact on one’s health.
Protecting Patient Access to Prescription Drugs
Patients are often forced to change prescription drugs for reasons other than a decision made in consultation with their physician. “Non-medical switching” from a drug that is working to a different one based solely on the insurers’ changes to the drug formulary can have dramatic impact on a patient’s health. Such changes cause increased costs, both in terms of administrative burden for physicians and clinics, and in increased visits to clinics and emergency rooms for impacted patients. Many patients select their plan based largely on whether a drug they need is covered, and yet nothing prevents that plan from changing the drug formulary in the middle of the patient’s contract year.